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Industry Experts Share Insights and Reflections on Earth Day 2023: Celebrating Our Planet


Happy Earth Day everyone! Today, on April 22, the world unites to support environmental protection, and industries worldwide are stepping up to do their part, including the tech sector.

With data, AI, and cloud computing at the forefront of business operations, companies have a unique opportunity to take control of their sustainability efforts. However, as the technology industry continues to grow, it faces the challenge of mitigating the impact of data centers and IT infrastructure on the environment and natural resource consumption.

In honor of Earth Day 2023, VMblog has reached out to several industry experts to gain their insights and spread awareness of the importance of environmental responsibility within the technology community.


Sascha Giese, Head Geek™, SolarWinds

"This Earth Day, companies of all sizes need to realize that one of the critical drivers of global emissions is hidden as a part of all of our everyday operations. Data centers already account for up to nearly 4% of global greenhouse gasses - that’s more than commercial airline traffic!

“As the use of AI and data becomes even more crucial for businesses, those emissions will grow exponentially unless companies take action now. Simple solutions like ensuring that databases are optimized and running efficiently can have an immediate and outsized impact to reduce energy consumption and emissions."


Jason E. Smith, VP, Product Marketing & Alliances, Liquidware

"Liquidware as an organization is keen to promote sustainability in all that we do as a company. Moreover, our solutions help our customers to do so too. By using key features, such as Process Optimization in our Stratusphere UX product, organizations can extend the use of existing hardware thus saving them money, as well as contributing to lessening the impact on the environment and our precious Earth. If everyone takes a small action, the combination of many doing the same leads to a powerful outcome."


Dan O’Farrell, Vice President, Product Marketing, IGEL

"On Earth Day, IGEL is underscoring its vision to transform the way the world works by creating better outcomes for people, organizations, and the planet. At IGEL, we have taken our role in enabling sustainable IT to heart. As such, we’re focused on evangelizing responsible business practices to protect the environment. It’s a fundamental part of our policies and partnerships. At the core of our sustainability program is the interconnected principles of what we call the “Three Rs:” reducing, reusing, and recycling resources and products to lower IT’s impact on e-waste and the global carbon footprint. Following is our guidance for IT organizations that also wish to increase sustainability:

  • Reduce – By focusing on making responsible choices for energy efficient devices and optimizing the resources IT and end users use, we can reduce CO2 emissions and conserve energy. Here we share the importance of choosing devices that have been responsibly manufactured, and enabling devices to reduce power consumption through software that is more efficient (such as with IGEL OS).
  • Reuse – We encourage, and through IGEL technology also enable, the reuse of devices and resources enterprises already own. Aging devices can be given new life, so organizations can reduce the need to purchase new devices for longer, thus reducing e-waste and lowering the carbon impact of manufacturing new equipment.
  • Recycle – IGEL also advocates the responsible management of IT asset disposal to reduce e-waste and the subsequent adverse effects on human health. By supporting social projects that reuse aging devices and partnering with services for responsible disposition, we are empowering IT sustainability.

For more about the impact of devices on the global e-waste problem and how technology is contributing to the solution, we invite you to watch this video:


Chris Gladwin, CEO and Founder of Ocient

"The negative effects of climate change are not an if but when and the responsibility to do better weighs heavily on enterprises and businesses. However, there's still time, and there's much that organizations and individuals can do to combat climate change. Small changes that can lead to a big difference include, calculating your company's carbon footprint and purchasing carbon offsets, migrating data center usage to those that run on renewable energy, going paperless and digitizing your business processes, choosing partners and vendors that are carbon neutral, incentivizing employees to carpool and use climate-friendly products and much more. Ultimately, being carbon neutral and conscious of climate change is not only good for the planet, but good for business."


Shekar Ayyar, chairman and CEO of Arrcus

"5G will enable an array of new services and AI applications to drive sustainability in various use cases like IoT, automation, etc. While 5G could drive an increase in the number of cell towers, higher bandwidth and power consumption, this can be offset by using software-driven platforms built on open networking hardware, rather than purpose-built networking hardware. This can sustainably drive digital transformation by supporting multiple applications and use cases on a single network fabric, with increased simplicity and performance, and can reduce the network's footprint and power requirements." 


Michael Buckwald, CEO and co-founder of Torch Sensors

"With a future of outdoor fire risks blazing out of control (+30% YoY), for those living in fire-prone areas, early detection systems and preparedness can play a crucial role in providing the time needed to respond effectively and minimize damage. As conditions become increasingly unpredictable, the importance of staying alert and prepared during these times can not be overstated for the health and safety of our communities."


Glenn Stowe, Product Manager for Geospatial at MariaDB

"The global climate crisis is the defining challenge of our time, requiring innovative and collaborative solutions to mitigate its impacts. By leveraging cloud computing, open standards, AI, and the democratization of access to space, we can unlock the full potential of geospatial data to better understand, predict, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The importance of geospatial data in the fight against climate change cannot be overstated. The increased availability of affordable satellite imagery has led to an explosion of geospatial data, which in turn has facilitated a more comprehensive understanding of climate change."


Alex Mans, founder and CEO of FLYR Labs

"Advanced forecasting technology can empower airlines to optimize their flight networks, reducing empty seats and ultimately reducing carbon emissions. With the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, airlines can analyze demand and revenue performance months in advance, allowing them to maximize capacity and fuel usage. As a result, airlines can not just generate more revenue and cut costs, but achieve fuller flights, which contributes significantly to a more sustainable future in the skies. While it's important to consider sustainable aviation fuel and other green technologies as long-term goals, optimizing route networks and reducing empty seats is a tangible step that airlines can take today towards achieving their sustainability objectives."


Mark Klarzynski, CEO and Founder at PEAK:AIO
"As we mark Earth Day, it is imperative for AI infrastructure vendors to look beyond the lucrative market opportunities fueled by the growth of AI, and take a hard look at their responsibility to promote sustainability and minimize the environmental impact of this growth. In the past, the storage industry has often addressed the demands of new generation production by simply increasing power consumption. However, it is now essential to think more comprehensively and creatively about reducing the ecological impact of AI.
As we celebrate Earth Day, let us remember that sustainability is not just a moral imperative but also an essential aspect of business. AI infrastructure vendors that invest in sustainable practices and minimize their environmental impact can build a more positive reputation, reduce costs, and enhance their bottom line while promoting sustainability."


Anthony Cusimano, Director of Technical Marketing, Object First

"At Object First, we have the luxury of working entirely remotely. This allows us to globally tap into talent without being tied into a traditional office model, frees up traditional commute times, and, more importantly, helps us positively impact the environment.
Remote work has the potential to significantly reduce the environmental impact of office-based work by decreasing daily commuting, which is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Traditional office settings also consume large amounts of energy and resources, including electricity for lighting and heating and paper for printing and filing. By reducing the need for physical office space, remote work can help reduce the environmental footprint of businesses and individuals while encouraging the adoption of digital meetings that are more energy efficient. As more companies make the switch, there is no excuse not to consider a hybrid or fully remote workstyle to help better the sustainability of our planet."


Carlos Rego, VP Strategic Development, Virtuozzo

"Do people care how green their cloud provider is? Some do: that’s why providers like exist, and why companies like A2 and promote their carbon-neutral approach. But most people? No. Environmental impact isn’t high on the list compared to security, price and performance.  

However, smart service providers, like Miss Group, know that to be green you have to be lean. They choose virtualization platforms that optimize density, and hardware that optimizes performance per Watt. Less hardware, less power, less heat, less cost – and that has the side-effect of also making them more profitable. Green by design, or green as a counterpart to profitability: either way, the result is less impact on the environment."


Aron Brand, CTO of CTERA

"It is exhilarating to observe the transformative influence of hyperscale cloud providers like AWS and Azure on the sustainability frontier. Their massive scale and technological prowess enable them to invest in expensive eco-friendly measures, making their commitment to the environment both viable and impactful. This dedication arises not only from their fervor for eco-consciousness but also from the economic necessity to reduce power consumption – a vital aspect of their operational costs.
The true potential of sustainability, however, is unlocked through the art of resource pooling, which significantly curtails idle and wasted capacity across both compute and storage realms. By adopting a hybrid cloud approach, modern enterprises can harness the exceptional efficiency of hyperscaler data centers and eradicate superfluous capacity, thereby cutting costs and substantially shrinking their carbon footprint. The hybrid cloud model sets the stage for a greener tomorrow, where businesses can thrive without jeopardizing our planet's well-being."


Linh C. Ho, Chief Growth Officer at Zelros

"It's important to remember that protecting the planet requires a collective effort, including from the insurance industry. To mitigate environmental insurance risks such as climate change, insurers should look into incorporating a wide range of strategies such as the ESG factors into their investment decisions, promoting energy-efficient practices, offering policies that incentivize sustainable behaviors, and developing new products that specifically address climate-related risks such as green building and renewable energy insurance. By offering more sustainable products and lowering their own carbon footprint, insurance providers can not only help mitigate the impact of climate change but also attract customers who are increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impact of their purchases."

Here are three things insurers should keep in mind when wanting to mitigate environmental insurance risks

Tip #1: Provide educational resources
Insurance providers should look into providing educational resources, such as risk assessment and mitigation services, that help clients identify potential environmental risks such as climate change, while also developing strategies to address them. These resources can help clients adopt more conscious, sustainable business practices and reduce their exposure to environmental risks.

Tip #2: Offer incentives for sustainable practices:
Using today’s latest innovations in AI technology, carriers can offer incentives that are specifically personalized, such as lower premiums or discounts, to clients who adopt sustainable business practices. For example, a property insurance company might offer lower premiums to clients who install energy-efficient appliances or invest in green roofs.

Tip #3: Invest and support environmental research
By supporting research into environmental risks and their impact on businesses and communities. Insurance companies can change the industry from one that is reactive, to one that is proactive. By funding research and collaborating with academic institutions, insurers can help advance our understanding of environmental risks and develop more effective risk management strategies to better protect ourselves and our clients. 


Charles Southwood, Regional VM and GM Northern Europe and Africa, Denodo

"There is no doubt that, in recent years sustainability has risen to the top of the boardroom agenda. Yet, there is still much to be done when it comes to protecting our planet, as this year’s World Earth Day serves to remind us. Today’s organisations are under more pressure than ever to effectively monitor, manage and extend their sustainability strategies. They also need to be able to demonstrate them to their customers and partners, as well as industry regulators. Despite this, many businesses are still missing a trick when it comes to achieving their ‘greener’ goals. It’s evident that data-driven enterprises are better-equipped to start down the sustainability path, more quickly, and more efficiently. But in order to follow this path successfully, organisations need to get a handle on their data. This is where modern technologies – like data virtualisation – can help. By providing easy and complete access to all repositories, through a single information layer, data virtualisation enables organisations to bring together data from multiple silos in order to analyse their sustainability progress. Those utilising this technology don’t need to make numerous replicas of datasets which, in turn, saves on storage and energy costs. In essence, data virtualisation can grant organisations a better understanding of their broader sustainability initiatives from planning phase to outcome phase and help to create a roadmap for a better, greener future."


Michael Wolfe, Vice President, CTO, Outdoor Wireless Networks, CommScope

"This year’s Earth Day serves as a reminder to us all that as pressures continue to rise from consumers, governments, and environmental groups, business leaders need to act fast on sustainability. It’s currently estimated that telcos are responsible for between 1.6% - 3.9% of global greenhouse gases emissions and without immediate action this figure will continue to grow. In order to keep in line with the Paris Agreement, telcos must reduce their emissions by 45% before 2030, or risk contributing to the irreversible effects of climate change. Leaders in the industry have already set themselves ambitious internal targets to reduce power consumption and incorporate green initiatives into their organisations day-to-day activity. While not overlooking the energy consumption upstream and downstream in the supply chain, by demanding transparency into their partners’ footprint, telco leaders will be able to work together to tackle the issue of climate change head on. With the right initiatives and with sustainability top of mind, telecoms providers can lead the way towards a greener future."


Heidi Karlsson, Director, Open Footprint Forum at The Open Group

"The effects of climate change are intensifying, pressure from customers and regulators is continuing to increase and with COP27 around the corner, it’s essential for businesses to bring their environmental impact into focus, and start taking action. As businesses embrace more digital transformation, they have the opportunity to introduce innovative solutions so they can address the impact they are having on the climate. Yes, many organizations do now have some level of in-house environmental tracking, and are building carbon measurement into their systems to monitor productivity, logistics and service usage, for example. However, a lack of industry standards for recording and processing environmental footprint data presents a risk to the progress organizations can make in reducing emissions. Businesses need an overarching strategy to reduce their carbon footprint, and the environmental impact of the business as a whole. By making decisions holistically and embracing digital transformation, businesses can operationalize sustainability. The Open Group Open Footprint Forum™ offers reliable tracking of environmental footprint data and continued consideration of how businesses can reduce their environmental impact. Offering support on accurate data on emissions, material, and energy consumption is essential for mandatory compliance reporting and meeting transparency demands. It’s also critical in taking action to avoid, reduce, and offset emissions – which will be key to unlocking a more sustainable future."


Vicky Bullivant, Senior Vice President, Sustainability at NTT Ltd

“With a rapidly increasing digital space comes increasing demands on technology and therefore higher levels of energy consumption. The question is, how do businesses manage the need for more energy with greater environmental sustainability demands coming from consumers, stakeholders and employees. An organisation’s carbon footprint is often measured once a year and manually, which is about as useful as only checking your investment balance annually. There is a better way: digitalising your carbon footprint and monitoring it as closely as your profit line. This is how to ensure your business is agile enough to rise to the climate challenge. Businesses should start by implementing modern technologies and practices. This allows them to become proactive in dealing with climate-related challenges and respond at lightning speed while measuring the impact confidently. In this way, organisations can make informed decisions in real time without waiting for an annual report before they act to save our planet.”


JR Sherman, CEO of RainFocus
"From an events industry and event tech perspective, sustainability has become a high priority for many sponsors, attendees, speakers, and exhibitors as they assess the misconception that in-person events are solely at the expense of the environment and the way to run an environmentally-conscious event is to do so virtually. While virtual is convenient, organizations have learned recently that face-to-face events are where relationships are established, nurtured, and grown. Providing experiences that connect dozens or thousands of people can be the most effective way to reduce carbon emissions and efficiently build relationships.
For events specifically, knowing the environmental impact of a single event can propel organizations into action. Event teams who are empowered to know and forecast their environmental impact are in the powerful position to proactively address it. This allows in-person events to be a catalyst for education, counteracting impact and empowering event attendees to make conscious decisions to drive environmental sustainability. By understanding environmental impact, events can continue to be a space that efficiently cultivates meaningful connections and ideas, while still contributing to global sustainability. At RainFocus, we’re committed to helping leading organizations understand their impact, deliver more sustainable events, and reach corporate sustainability goals."


Molly Presley, SVP of Marketing at Hammerspace

"As nations around the globe strive to meet sustainability goals and reduce their climate impact, the technology industry is coming under increasing pressure to both use data to innovate and identify more efficient solutions while, at the same time, reducing the impact of those same IT technologies. The fight to make positive change for the environment is a forefront focus of enterprises and governments that continuously use technology to create positive change while navigating new policies, standards, laws, and regulations that drive significant changes in their ways of doing business.

Within the data computing and data storage industry, there are tremendous and rapidly increasing technological advancements; however, organizations experience significant workflow challenges and inefficiencies when data gets trapped in storage silos and locations. Compute infrastructure requires significant power, and it is difficult to move data to geographies that have more efficient and available energy. It is also incredibly inefficient to have numerous copies of the same data stored in power-consuming storage systems that must live in air-conditioned data centers. To meet sustainability goals, organizations need data to be freely available to their teams anywhere as a global resource, unbound by location and data silos.
Automated data orchestration in a cross-platform global namespace across silos, sites, and clouds is emerging as a game-changer in this area. Typically, organizations need more power to accomplish everything they need to do. However, even when power is available in specific locations, it can be much more expensive to access and heavier on the environment to generate it. The capability to enable transparent, automated data orchestration, even on live data, enables workflows to achieve unprecedented efficiencies, leveraging any combination of on-premises and cloud resources. In addition, it creates an agile environment that can adapt to changing requirements to better meet tight deadlines and budgets.  

In summary, when energy and power are not available and very expensive, bundling content into files and efficiently orchestrating it to other areas using available, lower-cost, more efficient compute is a win-win – you achieve a more cost-effective, energy-efficient solution and a greener approach."


MarKeith Allen, Senior Vice President and GM, Mission-Driven Organizations, Diligent

"It’s incumbent that public and mission-driven organizations incorporate environmentally friendly solutions into achieving their goals. Doing so satisfies the appetite of environmentally conscious constituents, and it’s ultimately good for business and the planet. To achieve this, organizations need to start at the top with a strong board of directors who are knowledgeable about sustainability. With capable leadership, sustainability can play a role in corporate governance and decision-making in a way that impacts long-term growth strategies and ultimately benefits the long-term performance of organizations.

When developing a long-term strategy, every business should make it a point to evaluate the infrastructure decisions it makes to ensure that those choices are the most suitable for its operational needs, flexible enough to embrace evolving technology, and environmentally friendly. This Earth Day is the perfect time for boards to take the initiative to foster widespread agreement on sustainability priorities and cultivate a sustainable culture throughout the organization."


Terry Storrar, Managing Director, Leaseweb UK

"Our technology-oriented world is energy-hungry, with the networks and devices that we take for granted in our daily lives consuming large amounts of power. Although it is not as visible or tangible as other environmental matters, it is critical for the IT industry to find sustainable ways to manage power demands and achieve net zero goals.

Data center operators and IT service providers need to urgently invest in this global effort, but the responsibility falls wider than this. This Earth Day, one action that every organization can prioritize is to review IT infrastructure choices to ensure they are optimized for business needs, have the flexibility to support current, and future technologies - and step up environmental performance at the same time.  

ESG goals are also one of the many reasons behind the rapid adoption of cloud technologies.  Not only does this technology offer energy efficient alternatives to traditional on-premise equipment, but cloud services also offer versatility, agility, and cost-effectiveness. One study found that the energy footprint of moving applications to the cloud could be reduced by nearly 90%.  Although there is still a long, complex path ahead, the cloud is enabling a complete rethink of IT infrastructure design and the power requirements behind these that will make a measurable difference."


Frank Diana, Managing Partner & Principal Futurist, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
"My role as a futurist is to help TCS’ clients envision outcomes for their businesses. It’s no surprise that sustainability and technology’s role in the future of the environment is top of mind during Earth Month.
We have the potential to transform how we live and thrive in the environment of the future — one where technologies like digital twins will create true smart cities that are optimized for sustainability and responsible impact on the environment. Digital twins will provide a new lens for smart city management that involves an ecosystem of self-driving cars, 3D to 4D to 5D local printing facilities, vertical farming, and other implementations that will avoid waste and predict optimal conditions for biodiversity.
I believe in the future we will see governments, both federal and state, create “Digital Twin Divisions” which will be responsible for predicting and mitigating the disasters and disruptions to come, especially when it comes to pollution and environmental impact.”


Prashant Ketkar, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Alludo

"Green IT isn’t a trend. It’s an essential part of doing business in today’s climate. We all need to do our part. At Alludo, we’re committed to doing the work to foster sustainable business practices while delivering the experiences that our customers and employees expect from us.  We’re proud that one of our core product offerings, Parallels, allows our customers to leverage our technology to access the applications, infrastructure, and tools they need to be productive from anywhere and on any device. In addition, developers and knowledge workers have a choice of using the power of our solution across desktop, server and cloud."


Maggie Laird, Head of Lumada Software Business & Corporate Sustainability, Hitachi Vantara
"More recently, organizations have been consciously integrating sustainability into their business strategies and dedicating resources to support these efforts. They are reevaluating their business requirements and goals to include sustainable practices, from app modernization to decarbonizing offices and factories."


Published Friday, April 21, 2023 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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